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St. Edward’s Crown

Although throughout  history  there  have  been two crowns known as ‘St Edward’s Crown’,  the one currently on exhibition in the Tower of  London dates back to 1661 and was produced the  year after the restoration of the monarchy. 

The crown is used at the coronation ceremony  and  is  placed  on  the  head  of  the  incoming  monarch  by  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury.  However, due to its incredible weight of 2.23kg,  both King George VI and Elizabeth II replaced  it with the lighter weight and more comfortable  Imperial State Crown before leaving the Abbey  at the end of the coronation.

Made  of  solid  gold,  such  was  the  cost  of  precious gemstones at the time that the crown  only featured hired gems, rented from jewellers  several weeks before the coronation and given  back afterwards.

From the coronation of Anne 1702 until the early  19th century, the crown was not actually worn by  the incoming king or queens (not surprising as it  was so heavy), but was carried separately to the  ceremony as a symbolic object. In 1902, Edward  VII decided that he would wear the crown for  his coronation and commissioned its restoration.  However, on the day of his coronation Edward  was suffering with appendicitis and was unable  to wear the hefty crown!

Prior  to  the  coronation  of  George V  in  1911,  Garrard  the  Crown  Jewellers  were  employed  for  the  first  time  in  the  crown’s  history  to  permanently  set  over  400  genuine  gemstones.  According to “The Official Guide Book – The  Crown Jewels”, Garrards were responsible for  ‘removing  the  antique  enamelled  mounts,  all  the pastes (stones) and resetting them with semi  precious  stones’.  These  included  Amethysts, Sapphires, Tourmalines, Topaz and Citrines.

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